MARK Johnston has admitted that is he “sorely tempted” to miss the SportPesa Chester Cup with Austrian School.
Instead, the Middleham handler feels a crack at the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup the following week is more worthwhile for the half-brother to Tiger Roll.
Having won the Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh on his reappearance, he would be 5lb well-in at Chester, despite a 3lb penalty.
“He has come through the handicap ranks but he is a very good horse as well and I’d be sorely tempted to miss the Chester Cup and go for the Yorkshire Cup,” said Johnston.
“Slightly to my surprise, someone was asking the other day if he might be for sale as potential stallion and I never really thought of that at all, but it just reminded me that there are bigger things than handicapping for him now.
“I’ve only discussed snippets with his owner, who is Hong Kong. It is very tempting the Chester Cup as he is in there off a great mark. It is two-miles-two, but we said at Musselburgh he doesn’t need to go two-miles-two as he is a horse that is quite capable at a mile-six.”
Meanwhile, Aidan O’Brien is double-handed as he endeavours to take his record haul to 10 in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday after a field of 19 was declared for the colts’ Classic.
The two horses bidding for glory this time are Vertem Futurity Trophy scorer Magna Grecia and Ten Sovereigns – the unbeaten winner of the Middle Park Stakes.
Madhmoon, trained by Kevin Prendergast, is the other Irish challenger. Leading the home defence are the William Haggas-trained Craven Stakes victor Skardu and Martyn Meade’s Phoenix Stakes winner Advertise, the mount of Frankie Dettori.
There are three Godolphin-owned contenders in Mark Johnston’s Dark Vision, Saeed bin Suroor’s Royal Marine and Charlie Appleby’s Al Hilalee.
The last has been off the track since winning a Listed prize at Deauville in August and was supplemented at a cost of £30,000.
Completing the list are Azano, Emaraaty Ana, Great Scot, Kick On, King Of Change, Momkin, Name The Wind, Set Piece, Shine So Bright, Sporting Chance and Urban Icon.
LEE SOBOT’S SELECTIONS
LINGFIELD: 1.35 Sudona, 2.05 Summer Flair (next best), 2.35 Strong Power, 3.05 Diocles Of Rome, 3.35 Sir Busker, 4.10 Kachumba, 4.45 Mutaraffa.
MUSSELBURGH: 1.55 Glasvegas, 2.25 Abel Handy, 2.55 Coolagh Forest, 3.25 Everything For You, 4.00 Bataar, 4.35 Star Shield, 5.10 Dew Pond.
CHEPSTOW: 1.45 Cacophonous, 2.15 Manorah, 2.45 Poet’s Magic, 3.15 Saikung, 3.50 Eye Of The Water, 4.25 Fair Cop, 5.00 Doesyourdogbite.
CHELTENHAM: 5.05 Red Inca, 5.40 Lords Park Star, 6.15 Order In Court, 6.50 Hazel Hill, 7.20 Theatre Territory, 7.50 Jack Snipe, 8.20 Risk A Fine.
NEWCASTLE: 5.50 Shareef Star, 6.25 Khuzaam (treble), 6.55 Sosian, 7.30 Lady In France, 8.00 DUBAI LEGACY (NAP), 8.30 Epeius, 9.00 Inspired Thought.